Checklist cuts surgical infections in half

Using a 12-measure checklist, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital surgeons cut wound infections of Whipple procedures by nearly 50 percent, according to a new study in yesterday's Journal of Surgical Research. Among the checklist measures are safeguards to change gloves and gown before skin closure, using clippers instead of razors to shave the surgical area, and preoperative smoking cessation.

"It is typically quite difficult to achieve a 50 percent reduction in an adverse outcome," said Dr. Harish Lavu, associate professor in Thomas Jefferson's department of surgery, in a press release yesterday. "We can make a significant impact on lowering wound infection in patients undergoing this surgery by using this set of guidelines." Press release